It's been a while since I've written about tobacco, but the UN has provided a good occasion with the release of a new report on the eve of No Tobacco Day, which is tomorrow.
Smoking has been in long-term decline in the U.S., although tobacco addiction continues to afflict 15% of the adult population. So the psychopaths who get rich by murdering people have concentrated their efforts abroad -- specifically, they target poor and low-income people in low income countries.
The UN reports that tobacco now kills 7 million people every year. (It killed my father and my grandfather, by the way. In my father's case, starting with a stroke that put him on a decade-long course of dementia and decline.) To quote the press release, that's just for starters:
Tobacco use causes serious disability and significantly increases the risk of a number of additional diseases not immediately linked to it such as tuberculosis. However, it is the wider economic and development impacts of tobacco that must be better understood. With the tobacco industry doing all it can to increase tobacco consumption in low- and middle income countries, we must all take action to bring tobacco use to an end,” says Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat.We imprison people who are addicted to other drugs, while tobacco company executives make millions. They should be in prison.
Global estimates show that every year tobacco use costs the global economy USD 1.4 trillion, nearly 2 percent of global gross domestic product, but take into consideration only medical expenses and lost productive capacities. In addition to the health and economic consequences for individuals, families and nations, tobacco growing causes up to 5 percent of deforestation worldwide and results in biodiversity loss and soil degradation, as well as water and soil pollution from pesticide use.“Effective tobacco control through the implementation of the WHO FCTC is essential for development. Saving lives, while growing economies, protecting the environment and providing resources for other sustainable development efforts is exactly the type of win-win action that can help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.